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FASHION AND POWER / MCC-UE 1345
Spring 2014 / 4:55-6:10pm / MEYR 127
Prof. Laura Portwood-Stacer, PhD

Prof’s Email: lps2@nyu.edu / Twitter: @lportwoodstacer
Office: 239 Greene St, 8th Floor
Office Hours: Mondays & Wednesdays 1-3pm, Tuesdays 1-3pm via Google Chat
Course Website: fashpow2014.wordpress.com
Class Pinterest: pinterest.com/fashpow2014

Course Description
In this course we will examine fashion as an important component of culture, and come to understand the role of fashion in constructing and perpetuating relations of power at the societal level. Our readings and discussions will span historical periods, geographic locations, subcultural groups, and identity categories such as gender, ethnicity, class, and sexuality. We will draw on the theories and methods of cultural studies, urban sociology, critical race theory, feminist theory, performance theory, queer theory, and political economic analysis. Throughout our study of fashion and power, we will trace six keywords or central concepts: Representation, Identity, Discipline, Resistance, Appropriation, and Transformation. Students will have the opportunity to trace these concepts through readings, discussions, written assignments, visual image curation, and in-class group activities.

Course Objectives
Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

-Define fashion as a component of culture and carrier of meaning

-Recognize the power relations embodied and expressed in fashion phenomena

-Identify various methodological approaches to the study of fashion, power, and culture

-Explain, through visual imagery and writing, the relationship between fashion and power

-Critically analyze fashion’s role in social power relationships

-Synthesize critical studies of fashion and identify key themes in fashion theory and critique

-Suggest new analytical lenses through which fashion and power might be understood

-Identify and cultivate personal and professional areas of interest in fashion

Required Texts
All required readings will be provided as PDFs during the first week of the term.

You are encouraged to obtain a personal copy of Dick Hebdige’s Subculture: The Meaning of Style, as we will be reading the whole thing in Week 6.